7 years ago today, right about now, I think I was packing a bag for the kids and myself to take to my mom's house. I had sat on the living room floor that morning, watching the TV show all the horror that September 11th is, and I cried. I sent my son to school, and went to the store with my daughter. Our small town, so far away from the East Coast and all that was happening, was dead quiet. I was only one of a handful of people out. It was like we were all holding our breath waiting for the next shoe to drop.
For me it happened later that morning, when a call came from my husbands unit. Was he at work? Yes. Was this his cell phone number? Yes. I knew what that meant. I waited just a few minutes until the phone rang again.
It was my husband, asking me if I could get some of his gear together. Throw his spit kit and some civilian clothes into a bag. He was on his way home, his unit was being deployed. I called my mom, who picked our son up from school. Our pastor came over and prayed with us before he left.
But what I remember the most from that day is my husband and I standing in our bedroom, holding each other, knowing that could be the last moment we ever saw each other. We laughed a little at some joke that only we would think is funny, our tears could not be helped, and we talked about how much we loved each other, how each day with each other had been the best, how if this was it, we had packed more love and happiness into 9 years than we thought possible....and how grateful we were to have this one more moment, where so many others in the country were not so lucky.
That night I went to my parent's home. I could not stand to be alone in our house, with our young kids, when I had no idea where my husband was. For all we knew, he was on a plane headed to war.
He was gone for three months, but thankfully, it was not to war. He was stationed nearby, so he could come home on weekends. And every time he came home, I was reminded of how lucky I was. For the hardships we were having, it was nothing compared to thousands of other families trying to cope with the immense tragedy of loss.
Every year since, on September 11th, I stop and remember. I pray for the families, I pray for the soldiers, I pray for the police and fire fighters, and I also give thanks for what I have. I hope everyone does.